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Lahti Family Collection (Sycamore)


Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Family History & Local History

Richard "Ric" Lahti

Alice Margaret Hitchcock Lahti

Jennye Lahti Fry

Rachael Lahti Donnelly





Finnish Connection

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Lahti Family Collection (Sycamore), 1913-1997 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Lahti Family Collection (Sycamore), 1913-1997

ID: RHC/RC/189

Extent: 11.75 Linear Feet. More info below.


There are ten series that divide the Lahti Family Collection. Series I contains both paper and electronic documents pertaining to genealogical history, some family ephemera, as well as Local historical information such as photographs and news articles about Northern Illinois University and DeKalb.

Ric Lahti’s manuscripts makes up Series II; it is divided into four sub-series. Sub-series A contains personal records and ephemera, while sub-series B contains financial material unrelated to family businesses. Account ledgers from both businesses are included in the series.

Series III contains both paper and electronic documents consisting of materials from Alice Margaret Hitchcock Lahti including scrapbooks and memory books from her school days at McMurry School.

Material from Jennye Lahti Fry make up Series IV. Included in this series are photo albums created by Jennye Lahti. An index to each photo album is provided in the folders containing the albums. Also included in this series are photographs and documents pertaining to Jennye’s husband, specifically his involvement with work with various agricultural companies and a photograph of himself on a basketball team.

Rachel Lahti Donnelly material make up Series V. This material includes groups Rachel Lahti Donnelly participated in including The Stagecoach Players.

Fraternal Organization material make up Series VI. This series contains information concerning the fraternal organizations in which "Ric" Lahti participated: Shriners and Masons, as well as material from Alice and Rachel’s participation in Job’s Daughters, an organization associated with the Shriners.

Correspondence comprises Series VII.

Series VIII contains information about the golfing careers of Ric and Alice Lahti. Much of the material relates to Ric Lahti’s time at the Kishwaukee Country Club, but documents from other clubs and tournament in which he participated are also included. Alice Lahti’s golfing career is highlighted.

Series IX contains more detailed information about the Lahti businesses. Sub-series A holds information about the Lahti Clothing Store of Sycamore. Included in this series is the history of the clothing store, information on the owners of the store before and after Ric Lahti, business and financial records, employee information, and promotional materials. Sub-series B focuses on other Lahti records, and includes ledgers from Ric’s Restaurant in Belvedere, as well as documents on Ric Lahti’s employment elsewhere.

The Lahti family’s private life and Finnish ties are located in Series X. Many of the correspondences that are contained in this series are written in Finnish to Jennye Lahti, Ric Lahti’s sister. Also in this series is funeral information from Matti and Sofia Lahti, parents of Ric.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1987

Subjects: Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Clothing trade, DeKalb County (Ill), Finn Fest, Finnish Americans, Golf, Hitchcock Family, Hitchcock Plumbing, Job's Daughters International (Organization), Kishwaukee Country Club, Lahti Clothing Store, Lahti Family, Northern Illinois University, Order of the Eastern Star, Plumbing Industry, Sycamore (Ill.), Wagon Wheel Resort

Collection Historical Note

Richard "Ric" Mathew Lahti, was born November 26, 1904 in Rock Springs, Wyoming. His parents, Frans Matti and Sofia Uitto Lahti, immigrated from Finland. The family moved to DeKalb, Illinois, where Matti Lahti worked as a wire-drawer at American Wire and Steel. Ric Lahti dropped out of school after eighth grade. His sister, Jennie Lahti, received her diploma from DeKalb Township High School. Jennie Lahti, also spelled Jennye, and called "Jenks," was born April 14, 1904. She married Theodore Fry on May 3, 1941.

Ric Lahti began his golfing career as a caddy at the Kishwaukee Country Club. He learned to play golf with a makeshift club made from a broom handle at a nine-(soup can)-hole course designed in a cow pasture at the end of Eleventh Street. Lahti joined Kishwaukee Country Club in 1927 at the age of 22. He became president in 1942 and again in 1955. He also filled in as golf professional from 1950 through 1952. Lahti won the club championship three times and the Kishwaukee Invitational four times. Among numerous other awards he won the Lincoln Highway medalist title, and both the David Smart trophy and the McAllister trophy (Sycamore) three consecutive years.

Ric Lahti was a successful businessman. He owned Lahti Clothing Store in Sycamore and helped others set up businesses in Hampshire and Genoa. Formerly Miles Clothing Store, Lahti purchased and renamed the store, opening on March 29, 1941, with the motto "First with the Latest." Lahti sold the store in 1966, and, after changing hands again in 1972, it officially closed in 1975. Lahti later opened a gourmet restaurant in Belvidere, worked as a real estate agent, and in the late 1970s, worked as a bank security guard. He was a member of Sycamore Elks, was active in all branches of Masonry, and, as a Shriner, became Potentate of Tebala Temple in 1971.

Ric Lahti married Alice Margaret Hitchcock on July 28, 1935, in DeKalb. Alice, born on January 20, 1913, was the daughter of Edward Robert and Margaret Blair Hitchcock. Edward Robert Hitchcock owned Hitchcock Plumbing. Alice Lahti became a Licensed Practical Nurse and also had a successful golf career, playing at Kishwaukee Country Club, as well as others.

Ric and Alice Lahti had two children, Rachael Alyce Lahti, born on March 27, 1937, and Richard Edward Lahti, born August 31, 1939, both in DeKalb. Ric Lahti died on May 3, 1990, at home in Sycamore, Illinois. Alice Lahti died at Oak Crest Retirement Center in DeKalb on February 6, 2007.

Subject/Index Terms

Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
Clothing trade
DeKalb County (Ill)
Finn Fest
Finnish Americans
Hitchcock Family
Hitchcock Plumbing
Job's Daughters International (Organization)
Kishwaukee Country Club
Lahti Clothing Store
Lahti Family
Northern Illinois University
Order of the Eastern Star
Plumbing Industry
Sycamore (Ill.)
Wagon Wheel Resort

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Alternate Extent Statement: 6 digital files (2.04 MB)

Acquisition Source: Rachael Lahti Donnelly

Acquisition Method: Rachael Lahti Donnelly donated the Lahti Family Collection to the Regional History Center in several installments beginning in 1987.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Family History & Local History],
[Series II.: Richard "Ric" Lahti],
[Series III.: Alice Margaret Hitchcock Lahti],
[Series IV.: Jennye Lahti Fry],
[Series V.: Rachael Lahti Donnelly],
[Series VI.: Organizations],
[Series VII.: Correspondence],
[Series VIII.: Golf],
[Series IX.: Business],
[Series X.: Finnish Connection],

Series I.: Family History & Local History
Box 1
Folder 1: Hitchcock/ Lahti Genealogy and History, 1921-2011
Folder 2: Family Photographs, 1936, 1966, no date
Folder 3: Photographs and descriptions of DeKalb, 1923-1925, 2011
Folder 4: Barbed Wire Article, 1978
Folder 5: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1911, no date
Folder 6: Northern Illinois State Teachers College Photographs, by Gullickson Studio, no date
Folder 7: Northern Illinois State Teachers College Photographs, 1941
Folder 8: NIU-Related Documents, (1933-2006)
Series II.: Richard "Ric" Lahti
Sub-Series A.: Personal
Volume 1: Richard Lahti Golf Scrapbook (1 volume)
Oversize Drawer 28
Folder 20: Ric Lahti Hole-in-One Certificate; Photograph of Kirchner's Drug Store, 1950;  circa 1922
Box 1
Folder 9: Ephemera, 1921, 1923 (no date)
Folder 10: Biography, July 1963
Folder 11: Ku Klux Klan Donation Certificate, 1924
Folder 12: Saxophone, 1922
Folder 13: Stage Coach Players, "Her Husband's Wife", 1949
Folder 14: Stage Coach Players Play Photographs, 1949, no date
Folder 15: Playbill/ Stagebill, no date
Folder 16: Grade and Attendance Slips, DeKalb Township High School, 1923-1924
Folder 17: Physical Development Mail-Order Course, 1921
Folder 18: Correspondence from Rachael Lahti Donnelly to Ric Lahti, 1953, 1981, 1984
Sub-Series B.: Financial
Box 1
Folder 19: Investments, 1921-1923, 1927
Folder 20: Selling House, 317 North Fourth Street, 1953
Folder 21-22: Income Tax Return, 1941-1967
Sub-Series C.: Business
Box 2-3: Lahti Clothing Store, Charge Accounts, 1943-1966
Box 4
Volume 1-2: Hitchcock Plumbing, Ledgers (2 volumes), 1915-1921
Folder 1-9: Account Ledger, 1948-1965
Box 5
Folder 1: Account Ledger, 1965
Series III.: Alice Margaret Hitchcock Lahti
Box 5
Folder 2: Alice Hitchcock,  Kalibre Yearbook, DeKalb Township High School, 1928
Folder 3: GAA (Girls Athletic Association) Camp, 1928-1929
Folder 4: Northern Illinois State Teachers College Sports Programming, 1931
Folder 5: McMurry Training School Photographs, 1920s
Box 6
Volume 1: A Bouquet of Memories Alice Margaret Hitchcock Memory Book from McMurry Training School (1 volume), 1926
Series IV.: Jennye Lahti Fry
Box 7
Folder 1: Jennye  S. Lahti,  Kalibre Yearbook, DeKalb Township High School, 1925
Folder 2: Jennye Lahti,  High School, 1925-1926
Folder 3-8: Jennye Lahti photo albums, 1913-1927
Folder 9: Jennye Lahti Ephemera (3 photos), 1923, no date
Folder 10: The Creamery Cooperator, August 1944
Folder 11: Rural Apprisal Manual, 1967
Oversize Drawer 28
Folder 21
Item 1: Baptismal Certificate, 1907
Item 2: Confirmation Certificate, 1921
Item 3: Penmanship Certificate from the DeKalb Public Schools, 1921
Box 8
Folder 1: California Packing Company (Del Monte) Field Training Guide, 1967
Folder 2: Mortgage and Deed Information, Theodore and Jennie (Lahti) Fry, 1934-1989
Series V.: Rachael Lahti Donnelly
Box 8
Folder 3: Fashion Show Lineup and Clothes Description, no date
Folder 4: Finn Fest, 1994
Folder 5: Our Babies, Manual for New Mothers, 1935
Folder 6: Piano Recital, 1946
Box 9
Folder 1: Photographs: Golden Tulip Barbizon Palace, 1994
Folder 2: Photographs: Del Monte, no date
Folder 3: Photographs: Grant's Home, no date
Folder 4: Wagon Wheel Envelope, no date
Series VI.: Organizations
Box 9
Folder 5: Shriners, DeKalb Shrine No. 47: Executive Date Book, 1969
Folder 6: Shriners, DeKalb Shrine No. 47: Executive Date Book, 1970
Folder 7: Shriners, DeKalb Shrine No. 47: By-Laws, 1970-1990
Folder 8: Shriners, DeKalb Shrine No. 47: Yearbooks, 1975-1977, 1986-1990
Folder 9: Tebala Temple Spring Ceremonial, Rockford, 1957
Folder 10: Job’s Daughters, Bethel No. 66: Rachel Lahti Donnelly- installation as Honored Queen, December 1953
Folder 11: Job’s Daughters, Bethel No. 66: Bethel Number 66, 1998
Folder 12: Order of the Eastern Star, Normal Chapter Number 357, Yearbook, (1935-1997)
Box 10
Volume 1: Job's Daughters: Rachael Lahti's Scrapbook (1 volume), 1953-1954
Volume 2: Job's Daughters: Alice Lahti, "This Is Your Life" Scrapbook (1 volume), 1954
Series VII.: Correspondence
Box 9
Folder 13: Rachael Alyce (Lahti) (Norman) Donnelly Correspondence, 1959
Box 11-12: Rachael Alyce (Lahti) (Norman) Donnelly Correspondence, (1959-1994)
Box 13
Folder 1-3: Rachael Alyce (Lahti) (Norman) Donnelly Correspondence, (1990-2004)
Folder 4: Rachael Donnelly, Cards, (1992-2001)
Folder 5: Frank and Rachael Donnelly Correspondence, (1988-2001)
Folder 6: Frank and Rachael Donnelly Cards, (1997-2001)
Folder 7: Frank Donnelly Cards, (1994-2001)
Folder 8: Alice (Hitchcock) Lahti Correspondence, (1930-1934)
Folder 9: Alice (Hitchcock) Lahti Cards, (1958-2001)
Folder 10: Ric Lahti Cards, no date
Folder 11: Ric and Alice (Hitchcock) Lahti Cards, 1951
Box 14
Folder 1: Ric and Alice (Hitchcock) Lahti Correspondence, (1990-1995)
Folder 2: Margaret Reese Get-Well-Cards, 1951
Series VIII.: Golf
Box 15
Folder 1: Golf Articles, no date
Folder 2: Ric Lahti: A Golfer, by Rachael Lahti Donnelly, 2011
Folder 3: Golf Finnish Connection: "Nostalgia and Glee," by C.R. "Luke"  McLagan, 1960
Folder 4: Golf Finnish Connection: Arne Huhta, (1935-1997)
Folder 5: Golf Finnish Connection: Finn Fest, 1994; (1928-1994)
Folder 6: Kishwaukee Country Club, (1927-1997):
Folder 7: Kishwaukee Country Club: Sonja Henie, 2011
Folder 8: Kishwaukee Country Club: A.B. Gouchenour, (1917-2010)
Folder 9: Kishwaukee Country Club: "Lahti Clicks for Top Scores", 1956
Folder 10: Kishwaukee Country Club: Presidents and Champions, 1910-2010
Folder 11: Kishwaukee Country Club: Photographs, (1937-1996)
Folder 12: Kishwaukee Country Club: Golf Professional, (1938-1961)
Folder 13: Kishwaukee Country Club: Golf Professional: Hole in One, 1950
Folder 14: Kishwaukee Country Club: Golf Professional: Minding the Store, (1940-1964)
Folder 15: Kishwaukee Country Club: Golf Professional: Sam Snead, (1961-2004)
Folder 16: Kishwaukee Country Club: Kishwaukee Invitational, (1944-1973)
Folder 17: Kishwaukee Country Club: Lincoln Highway Golf Association, (1923-2011)
Folder 18: Men's Lincoln Highway Tournament, (1929-1935)
Folder 19: Ladies' Lincoln Highway Tournament, (1956-1973)
Folder 20: Rock River Golf District Association, 1962-1970s
Folder 21: Sycamore Golf, (1940-1968)
Folder 22: McAllister Trophy, (1942-1946)
Folder 23: Trophies, (1942-1964)
Folder 24: Scorecards, (1949-1970); no date
Box 16
Folder 1: Western Senior Golf Association, (1957-1969)
Folder 2-3: Western Senior Golf Association: Annual Championship, 1967, 1969
Folder 4-5: Western Senior Golf Association: Yearbooks, (1960-1966)
Folder 6: World Senior Golf Championships, 1963-1964
Folder 7: Tournament Invitations, 1964-1966
Folder 8: Alice Lahti: At Kishwaukee Country Club, Newspapers, (1949-1973); no date
Folder 9: Alice Lahti: Scorecards, (1962-1974); no date
Folder 10: Alice Lahti: Ethel Fisk, (1957-1976)
Folder 11: Alice Lahti: Kishwaukee County Club Fun Day, 1961, no date
Folder 12: Alice Lahti: Other Clubs, (1957-1964)
Folder 13: Cassat Cartoon, 2010
Folder 14: Golf Charities, 1970
Folder 15: Cards, 1937-1965
Folder 16: Golf Notes, no date
Series IX.: Business
Sub-Series A.: Lahti Clothing Store
Box 16
Folder 17: Miles Clothing Store, Promotion Guidelines, circa 1940
Folder 18: Lahti Clothing Grand Opening, 1939-1941
Box 17
Folder 1: Employees, (1941-2009)
Folder 2: Sales Tax Token, no date
Folder 3: History, 2009, 2011
Folder 4: Business Records, (1941-1972)
Folder 5: Assessment, 1943
Folder 6: Financial Records, (1941-1958)
Folder 7: Collection Agency Correspondence, 1943-1966
Folder 8: Promotions, (1941-1975), no date
Folder 9: Promotions: Bowling, 1942, no date
Folder 10: Promotions: Sidewalk Sales, (1959-2011)
Folder 11: Sycamore Chamber of Commerce, (1958-1969)
Folder 12: Photographs, 1949-1975
Folder vol 1: Complete Inventory (1 volume), March 1961
Folder vol 2: Disbursements & Expenses (1 volume), 1964-1966
Folder vol 3: Distribution of Expenses (1 volume), 1972
Box 18
Folder 1: Lahti Clothing Changes Hands, 1972, 2010
Folder 2: Yeager Clothing Store Bankruptcy, 1972
Folder 3: Income Property Ledger, 1952-1964
Sub-Series B.: Other Business
Box 18
Folder 4: Richard Lahti Employment: Early Employment, (1917-1960)
Folder 5: Richard Lahti Employment: H.J. Hakala Agency, 1976-1978
Folder 6: Richard Lahti Employment: Later Employment, (1972-1990)
Volume 1-2: Ric's Gourmet Restaurant, Belvidere, IL, Ledger (2 volumes), 1972-1974
Folder 7: Lahti Clothing Store Bag
Box 19: Lahti Clothing Store Christmas Box
Series X.: Finnish Connection
Box 20
Folder 1: Songbook, 1910
Folder 2: Photographs from Ylistaro and Isokyr, 1918, no date
Folder 3: Unidentified Finns (23 photographs), no date
Folder 23: Mathew and Sofia Lahti Golden Anniversary, 1940
Folder 24: Early Reading Book, 1941
Folder 25: Frans Mathew Lahti Funeral, 1944
Folder 26: Frans Mathew Lahti Funeral: Memory Book, 1944
Subject Files 1: Correspondence to Jennye (Lahti) Fry [in Finnish]:
Box 20
Folder 4-5: From Emilia (Emmi) Heiska, (1945-1966), no date
Folder 6: From Maija (Liisn) Heisja, 1946-1947
Folder 7: From Martta Kuurne, (1951-1959)
Folder 8: From Rikhard Niemi, 1946-1948
Folder 9: From Liisa (Heiska) Nyrhinen, (1964-1982)
Folder 10: From Juho (Jossi) E. Reininmaki, 1946-1952
Folder 11: From Maija Reinimaki, 1946-1947
Folder 12: From Ritva Reinimaki, 1948
Folder 13: From Laura Riiviven, (1941-1951), no date
Folder 14: From Alli Yl, 1951, 1957
Folder 15: From Eila Yl, 1946
Folder 16: From Senja Yl, 1946-1951
Folder 17: From Unknown, (1937-1962); no date
Subject Files 2: Correspondence to Matti and Richard Lahti [in Finnish]:
Box 20
Folder 18: From Emilia (Emmi) Heiska, 1945
Folder 19: From Senja Yl
Folder 20: Correspondence to Richard Lahti from Rikhard Niemi [in Finnish], 1946
Subject Files 3: Correspondence to Sofia Lahti [in Finnish]:
Box 20
Folder 21: From Emilia (Emmi) Heiska, 1945-1946
Folder 22: From Juho (Jossi) E. Reininmaki, no date
Box 21
Folder 1: Frans Mathew Lahti Funeral: Sympathy Cards, 1944
Folder 2: Frans Mathew Lahti Funeral: Sympathy Cards, 1944
Folder 3: Sofia Uitto Lahti Funeral, 1946
Folder 4: Sofia Uitto Lahti Funeral: Memory Book, 1946
Folder 5-6: Sofia Uitto Lahti Funeral: Sympathy Cards, 1946
Folder 7: Finnish Christmas, 1961, no date
Folder 8: Finnish Cookbooks, no date

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Family History & Local History],
[Series II.: Richard "Ric" Lahti],
[Series III.: Alice Margaret Hitchcock Lahti],
[Series IV.: Jennye Lahti Fry],
[Series V.: Rachael Lahti Donnelly],
[Series VI.: Organizations],
[Series VII.: Correspondence],
[Series VIII.: Golf],
[Series IX.: Business],
[Series X.: Finnish Connection],

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